FACE:  Keeping the Circle Strong

What is the History of FACE?

It was the recognition of the unique challenges confronting American Indian children coupled with the desire to improve their education that led to the creation of FACE (Family and Child Education) Program.  The Bureau of Indian Affairs (formerly known as BIA – now known as BIE) and the office of Indian Education Programs (OIEP) began to examine educational intervention strategies.  Using the model of three national emerging education organizations – Parents as Teachers National Center, the National Center for Family Literacy (now National Center for Families Learning), and the High Scope Educational Research Foundation, educators directed by Bill Mahojah, Dixie Owens, Edward Parisian and others designed an early childhood-parent involvement family literacy program honoring the culture and language of the American Indian families it would serve.  Research and Training Associates (RTA) joined the partnership to offer evaluation services to ensure that the best services possible were being offered to American Indian families and to offer an objective study of the implementation process and method of measuring program outcomes.

FACE was initiated in 1990, the number of schools implementing FACE increased from the initial six programs serving 500 families to 46 programs in PY18. FACE has served 50,690 participants, including 27,213 children and 23,477 adults in approximately 20,500 American Indian families. 


What are the goals of FACE?

The goals of the FACE program are:

  • Support parents/primary caregivers in their role as their child’s first and most influential teacher

  • Increase family literacy

  • Strengthen family-school-community connections

  • Promote the early identification and services to children with special needs

  • Celebrate the unique cultural and linguistic diversity of each American Indian community served by the program

  • Promote lifelong learning

Program services integrate language and culture in two settings:  home and school.  By bringing together the Parents as Teachers National Center (PATNC) and the National Center for Families Learning (NCFL), BIE created a model for early childhood/parental involvement with an emphasis on school readiness through culturally responsive education, resources, and support for American Indian families with children prenatal through grade three.   The flexibility and adaptability of family literacy give the FACE model the capacity to meet the needs of children and their families through a continuum of services ranging from prenatal to age eight.  Services are provided both at home, using the Parents as Teachers model and curriculum, and in schools, utilizing the National Center for Families Learning Center Based model.  Families are encouraged to participate in the full range of FACE services.  Research shows that FACE parents recognize the importance of early literacy experiences and continued interactions with their children. 


What Do Services Look Like In FACE?

Services in home-based FACE consist of 4 components.


1. Personal Visits

Families with children who are prenatal through kindergarten receive a visit in their home every one to two weeks.  Each personal visit includes three areas of emphasis:  Parent-Child Interaction, Development-Centered Parenting, and Family Well-Being.  Topics, parent-child activities, and books shared during each visit are often adapted to emphasize the local culture and language.


2. Group Connections (FACE Family Circles)

FACE Family Circles, are a time for families to come together, learn about child development and parenting, and become part of the school family.  FACE Family Circles are held at least once a month and include information from three areas of emphasis: Parent-Child Interaction, Development-Centered Parenting, and Family Well-Being.  The content of information and activities shared with families often include the local language and culture.


3. Screening

Children receive a developmental screening twice a year; as well as receiving a health, hearing, and vision screening once a year (more often as needed).  The home-based parent educator discusses all strengths and areas of concern with families, making appropriate referrals when necessary.

4. Resource Network

Families are regularly connected with resources in order to positively affect their family’s well-being and help them to reach their goals.  An updated resource directory is kept by the program and partnerships with community agencies are developed to further aid in cultivating a wide range of resources for families.  


How is FACE Evaluated?  

The Research & Training Associates, Inc. (RTA) was contracted at the inception of FACE to conduct a program study and continues to function as the program evaluator.  The purpose of the program evaluation has been to provide information, ensuring continual improvement in program implementation and to provide information about the impact of the program.  Evaluation focuses are identified and studies are planned through the partnering efforts of the BIE, RTA, NCFL, and PATNC.  Evaluation indicates that FACE programs are succeeding in addressing achievement gaps for American Indian children primarily located on rural reservations, and in better preparing them for school.

What are the FACE Program’s Focus and Impacts?  
Focus on early detection: Ninety percent (90%) of children received some type of screening service, more than doubling the percentages that were screened since data was first reported in PY97.

  • A Focus on home literacy: FACE increases the literacy resources in homes through a variety of techniques, including a partnership with Dollywood Imagination Library.

  • A Focus on high quality curriculum: Curricula for adult education, early childhood education and parent education are consistently reviewed and adapted to meet the needs of the FACE families.

  • A focus on self-determination and preservation of Native culture: An emphasis is placed on the importance of the integration of language and culture into all services.

  • A focus on outcomes: Findings from FACE Impact Studies indicate that FACE indirectly impacts children’s school readiness through its direct, significant, and meaningful impacts on preschool attendance, the number of books and literacy resources in the home, and increased home literacy activities. Significantly more FACE parents visit their child’s classroom, attend teacher conferences, provide culturally related assistance in school, attend school events, and attend school workshops or meetings than do non-FACE parents. FACE results in fewer special education placements when children reach school age.


Technical Assistance in Home-Based FACE

On-site technical assistance is provided 1-2 times a year by the Parents as Teachers National Center, as well as support through distance learning, such as phone calls, email, conference calls, Skype, and webinars.  Technical assistance focuses on comprehensive and intensive training, the development of resources (TA briefs, screening and Face Family Circle Kits, videos and guides, etc.) and support on the program design, content and delivery of services to families. Throughout the year, the Parents as Teachers Technical Assistants are ready and willing to respond to questions by phone at (314) 432-4330 or by email.


FACE Staff:

Diane Givens – Director  ext. 1266
Stephanie Hunt – FACE Manager  ext. 1221
Mary Huggins – FACE Coordinator  ext. 1206
Angela Harbaugh  – FACE Technical Assistant  ext. 1227
Genita Wehner  – FACE Technical Assistant  ext. 1223
Wynette Whitegoat – FACE Technical Assistant  ext. 1205